Every December major news companies list the top news stories of the year.
CatholicMatch would like to offer our take on the top Catholic news stories of 2010. The stories are in the order they occurred and they tell a story of a church that’s alive and active, wounded but never despairing, and full of hope in the Divine Help from above.
1. Haiti earthquake
When the ground below Haiti shook on Jan. 12, the world emptied its pockets and hearts to offer relief to this poor nation’s tragedy. Catholic organizations were some of the first and largest responders to the tragedy. One could never forget the images of prayer and celebration by the Haitians in their destroyed churches, just days after the quake. “Why give thanks to God? Because we’re here.” the Haitians testified. In the end, the world gained unforgettable reminders of hope, triumph, and prayer, as we continue to help them rebuild.
2. Family-centered media campaigns
CatholicVote.org listed this as one of their Top 10 Reasons for Hope, the idea that advertisers are turning to positive images of family in their ads because they sell. Both Apple and AT&T had major commercials with images of children, family, and celebration. Google also had a Superbowl ad that went fairly unnoticed but told the uplifting tale of a young person falling in love overseas, getting married in a church, and having a child, all while using Google to get how-to tips for the life changes.
3. Health-care reform
The health-care debate and passage of the bill pushed discussion about Catholic social teaching to the center of the political arena yet again. Responding to the call to care for our brothers and sisters, Catholics took an active role in influencing the discussion to seek to gain access to healthcare for all.
4. Sex abuse scandal
The Catholic Church faithful were rocked again by a wave of admitted abuses and cover-ups from men who were ordained to be shepherds of a flock. Amidst this tragedy, Pope Benedict and world bishops and priests called for this humbling of the church to bring us all to greater prayer and dependence on God. It was also a good time to point out how much the Catholic Church has put in place to prevent abuse in our church, though “one abuse is still one too many,” says CatholicMatch blogger Matt Warner. In the end, the church will continue to purify herself and the truth will still set us free.
5. The World Cup in South Africa and the Catholic Church
South Africa hosting the World Cup was a historic event given it’s a nation still in healing from apartheid and war. The Catholic Church in South Africa took full advantage of the attention on the games and offered evangelization and prayer through their Church on the Ball initiative, an evangelization and prayer initiative.
6. Proposition 8: marriage on trial in California
Proposition 8 in California went to trial after lobbyists protested the voters’ decision to keep legal marriage between one man and one woman. U.S. District Judge Vaughan Walker overturned the ban on gay marriage in a controversial and heated case. To date, the proposition is still being debated in an appeal case before the Federal Appeals Court. Whether you live in California or not, for Catholics, and especially those considering marriage, this case may set the stage for the future legality of marriage in America.
7. Chilean miner rescue
A worldwide audience sat on pins and needles in October as engineers worked tirelessly to free 33 men trapped half a mile beneath the surface of the earth. As they emerged, some dropped to their knees and made the sign of the cross. One miner was greeted by a tearful wife and a cloth bearing an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The miners’ shirts told it all: “Gracias, Senor,” “Thank you, Lord.” As one miner said, “There are actually 34, because God has never left us down here.”
8. The pope, Africa, and his statements about condoms
More than a year after his visit to Africa, Pope Benedict’s comments on the fight against HIV/AIDS is still making headlines. This time the media frenzy was stirred by a question posed by journalist Peter Seewald in his latest book “Light of the World: the Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.” The Holy Father’s comments remain the same: condoms are never morally permissible and efforts must be made to humanize sex. Members of the Catholic media took every opportunity to clarify this teachable moment.
9. Christian persecutions in the Middle East
War rages on in the Middle East and Christians are a target of heavy violence. “Muslim fundamentalists want Christians to evacuate from the Middle East and leave,” said one article. The result of this want is deadly loss of life. Though removed from the violence, we’re called to be our brother’s keeper. Rallies of support sprang up all over the nation, including this one in Chicago, calling for government intervention on behalf of Christians. Their plight continues, and therefore so does the universal church’s.
10. Our Lady of Good Help becomes 1st U.S. Marian apparition site
On Dec 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wis., declared the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help to be an approved site of apparition of Mary. It is the first U.S. apparition site, and the message is breathtaking.
During each of the three apparitions near Champion (then Robinsonville), Wisconsin, a lady in shining white clothes appeared to Adele. The third time she identified herself as “the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.”
She went on to tell the 28 year-old woman, who lived with her family on a small homestead in northern part of the state, “I wish you to do the same.”
The Virgin Mary then gave her a mission for evangelization and catechesis: “Gather the children in this wild country, and teach them what they should know for salvation . Go and fear nothing. I will help you.”
A young single woman lived in simplicity, received a gift, and now the church in the U.S. and the world are receiving the graces of that gift.
So, as we go into 2011, no matter our calling, let us share our gifts and teach others what is necessary for salvation, all while fearing nothing; Our Lady and Our Lord will help us.
Happy New Year!